Joseph Welcenbach Represents Wrongful Death Case in Wisconsin Supreme Court

August 5, 2014

Milwaukee Wrongful Death Attorney Joseph J. Welcenbach was recently in the Wisconsin Supreme Court arguing a case on behalf of a young child whose father was killed in a car accident in 2008. The non-marital child, who is now 5 years old, was previously denied the right to receive damages for her father’s wrongful death, as were the man’s other two minor daughters (who are also from non-marital relationships). These denials were made based on the technicality that damages were denied for the deceased accident victim’s estranged spouse, who is not the mother or caregiver of the minor girls.

Here’s some background on the case, as detailed in the Court of Appeals, District II’ certification of the case. The victim’s fatal car accident occurred on December 12, 2008. At the time, the man had a wife with whom he had been separated for over a decade and with whom he had not had contact for at least five years. He also had three young daughters who were from non-marital relationships. In a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault driver and the appropriate insurance companies, the plaintiffs included the surviving spouse, the one adjudicated daughter (the client Attorney Welcenbach is now representing) and the other two daughters. In that case, a circuit court denied the validity of the spouse’s claims, as well as of the children’s claims.

Under Wisconsin law, the child’s award for damages is typically taken out from the spouse’s award. State law, however, has failed to take scenarios such as this one into account—the scenario in which the child and the spouse have nothing to do with each other. When the Wisconsin Court of Appeals certified the case over to the Supreme Court, it asked that the higher court to resolve multiple questions, including the question of whether this type of denial would be a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution, since it could be seen as different treatment between marital children and non-marital children.

Attorney Welcenbach, one of our skilled lawyers at Welcenbach Law Offices, S.C., is making a case before the Supreme Court for the current policy to be changed and for his client to be granted the financial support she is rightfully due. He argued his case before the Wisconsin Supreme Court on January 15, 2014. Attorney Welcenbach has been practicing law in Wisconsin since 1972, so he is a seasoned legal advocate for the wrongfully injured and for their family members.

If you are someone who is fighting for your right to compensation after the wrongful death of a loved one, take action and call our firm for unwavering legal assistance. We want to help you secure the financial recovery you deserve!